Biography of Norman P. Perkins
CCCMan, Camp F-132, Prichard, Idaho
My name is Norman P.Perkins and was in the CCC from April 11, 1937 until Feb. 7, 1939 in northern Idaho, 1938, Camp F-132 out of Prichard. The Company was Co. 531.
I lived in Columbus, Ohio when joining the CCCs and went to Ft. Knox, Ky. For distribution to a camp.---While there I learned to drive an Army truck and got an Army drivers license, which I still have.---I was then sent to CCC camp Co-531 out if Prichard, Idaho.
At first I was assigned to a work crew building a road and then on up to where we built a forest fire lookout tower.---I was on a 2 man saw crew and then learned to drive a bull dozer and also became a truck driver for the forest service.---I took a mechanics course at camp in the ED. building. After that I became a mechanics helper at the Forest service garage there a camp working with the Forest Service mechanic. I drove all the vehicles at camp even the Army truck to get mail at Prichard. The ambulance that was at the camp was one that I had gone to Ft.Wright, Washington to get. It was brand new at that time and I had to stay at the Fort until it was ready.
The work was rather extensive in several areas.---We built forest fire lookout towers and the roads to the top of the mountain where the towers were built.---We fought forest fires when necessary and cleared out dead or fallen trees to get wood for heating in winter, the only heat we had was from wood burning stoves. ---We maintained all the logging roads in the area to keep them clear all year round.
We did not have any social life, all work and no play, too bad but the enlistment was only for 6 months at a time. We showed a movie once a week in the Rec Hall, they were selected from a list provided by the Educational Advisor.---I think he had the movies sent to camp by a source he had lined up in the town of Wallace, Idaho. Our most popular past times were Softball and volleyball in camp, none out of camp.
In our camp we had a retired Army doctor who lived on site in the dispensary and he served another CCC camp 6 miles farther away.--For dental work the Army sent a retired dentist with portable equipment to camp once a month, emergencies were taken to a dentist in the town of Kellogg, Idaho.
When I started my tour of service I was a sawyer, then a bull dozer operator and mechanics assistant. Later on there was an opening in headquarters for supply and canteen steward and I got the job and then became in charge of the supplies & the PX.
I was an assistant leader supply steward. The supply steward's job was to take care and order all supplies used in camp, such as clothing, bedding, office supplies and take care of the laundry by sending it to the laundry in Wallace.
We had a wholesale business in Wallace where we got our canteen supplies, this was set up by a Government Agency out of Washington, any bidding was done there.---I was the supply steward and kept bedding and ETC in the supply room, the camp tools were kept and maintained by the Forest Service.---The CCC camps were controlled by Army reserve Officers and the work was run by the US Forest Service.---We got our cots, bedding and Army vehicles from Fort George Wright, Spokane, Washington.---In camp we kept an Ambulance and an Army covered truck, all other vehicles were Forest Service.
If an enrollee lost an item or it was destroyed, and if it was Government issue it was replaced at the supply room with a good reason or excuse determinded by the camp commander.
Foot lockers were part of the government issue to each person the same as bedding and clothing.---They were made of half inch plywood in the camp carpentry shop and they were furnished with a hasp in case the boy wanted to put on a padlock.---Some of the boys bought foot lockers from Sears which were much sturdier, I bought one myself, in fact I still have it now.
I was canteen steward when discharged. The canteen steward took care of what is called PX in the army, sold to the boys things like soap, toothpaste, combs, shaving supplies, candy, soda pop and cigarettes. When I was in camp we used the paper coupons that were in a book that was purchased at the canteen. A boy could use these as money in the canteen. Each boy got $5.00 per month to spend as they wished, some of them would take the $5.00 in cash or use the money for a coupon book to spend in the canteen.
I was in the US Army in '43 & '44 in the 42nd Rainbow Division, Camp Gruber, Oklahoma.---I was in the Military Police Platoon of 80 men.---I was only in the Army 16 months as I hurt my back in a motorcycle accident in training and spent 4 months in a military hospital B4 getting a medical discharge, as a result I am now handicapped.
I was originally from Columbus, Ohio, lived for a time in South Carolina but have since moved back to my home state of Ohio. I am 86 years old.
----- Norman Perkins
Email: northel AT att.net
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Photographs from Norman Perkins
Camp Photo, Norman Perkins, CCCMan, Camp F-132, Prichard, Idaho
Company 531, Officers and Leaders, Norman Perkins, CCCMan, Camp F-132, Prichard, Idaho
Canteen, Norman Perkins, CCCMan, Camp F-132, Prichard, Idaho
Forest Service Personnel and Commanders, Norman Perkins, CCCMan, Camp F-132, Prichard, Idaho
Mess Hall, Norman Perkins, CCCMan, Camp F-132, Prichard, Idaho
Education Building, Norman Perkins, CCCMan, Camp F-132, Prichard, Idaho
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